Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem just outside the walls of the Old City. The term “Mount Zion” was used in the Hebrew Bible first for the City of David (2 Samuel 5:7; 1 Chronicles 11:5; 1 Kings 8:1; 2 Chronicles 5:2) and later for the Temple Mount. In a wider sense, the term is also used for the entire Land of Israel. According to Psalm 87:2–3 which says,
“The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God,” Zion is synonymous with the city of God, and a place that He loves. The word “Zion” occurs over 150 times in the Bible. It essentially means “fortification” and has the idea of being “raised up” as a “monument.” Zion is described both as the city of David and the city of God. As the Bible progresses, the word Zion expands in scope and takes on an additional, spiritual meaning.
The first mention of Zion in the Bible is 2 Samuel 5:7: “...David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David).” Zion was originally an ancient Jebusite fortress in the city of Jerusalem. After David’s conquest of the fortress, Jerusalem became a possession of Israel. The royal palace was built there, and Zion/Jerusalem became the seat of power in Israel’s kingdom. The word Zion is also used in a theological or spiritual sense in Scripture. In the Old Testament, Zion refers figuratively to Israel as the people of God (Isaiah 60:14). In the New Testament, Zion refers to God’s spiritual kingdom. We have not come to Mount Sinai, says Apostle Paul, but “…to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…” (Hebrews 12:22). Peter, quoting Isaiah 28:16, refers to Christ as the Cornerstone of Zion: “…Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:6).